Rundown of the EU election in the North East
The country goes to the polls next week in an election that was never expected to take place, but one that political observers will be watching closely.
Due to the failure to agree our departure from the European Union, the UK has to take part in the continent-wide elections for the European Parliament on Thursday, May 23.
This body is currently made up of 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), who are elected by 28 EU member countries.
The UK is represented by 73 MEPs, elected across 12 constituency regions, with each represented by between three and 10 MEPs based on population - the North East has three.
Each party puts forward a regional list, featuring three candidates, and electors are able to vote for one of these lists or for an individual candidate standing as an independent.
The number of MEPs that are elected from each party to represent a region depends on the overall share of votes that each party receives.
The North East’s three MEPs for the past five years have been Labour’s Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen, plus independent Jonathan Arnott, who was elected for Ukip but resigned from the party in January 2018.
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The Labour pair are candidates once again, but Mr Arnott is not, while the ballot paper is busier than last time round, with the addition of two new parties.
Given the divisive and never-ending row over Brexit, remain-backing Change UK and Nigel Farage’s The Brexit Party have joined the party this time round.
A total of 222 polling stations will be open in Northumberland from 7am to 10pm next Thursday.
The results are expected late evening next Sunday as different member states go to the polls between Thursday and Sunday.
The candidates (in list order for each party) are as follows: Change UK - Frances Weetman, Penny Hawley, Kathryn Heywood; Conservative - Richard Lawrie, Chris J Galley, Duncan Crute; Green - Rachel Featherstone, Jonathan Elmer, Dawn Furness; Labour - Jude Kirton-Darling, Paul Brannen, Clare Penny-Evans; Liberal Democrats - Fiona Hall, Julie Pörksen, Aidan King; The Brexit Party - Brian Monteith, John Tennant, Richard Monaghan; Ukip - Richard Elvin, Chris Gallacher, Alan Breeze.